New Law on Fees for use of Public Goods

On 7 December, 2018, National assembly adopted the Law on fees for use of public goods, which will be applicable from 1 January 2019, except for the provisions which are related to fee for protection and improvement of the environment, applicable from 1 March 2019, and provisions which are related to water pollution fee, applicable from 1 January 2020.

The purpose for rendering this Law is unification of all fees for use of public goods by one law, especially having in mind that the fees for the use of public goods were previously regulated with the provisions of 19 (nineteen) separate laws and more than 90 (ninety) various bylaws.

The Law should also contribute to the transparency improvement of the public revenue system, rational use of public goods and allowing companies to predict and estimate their costs more precisely, as well as to monitor the changes in respect to the fees in the easier way. On the other hand, certain business entities, as well as foreign chambers of commerce in Serbia like AmCham, believe that the new Law violates the principles of business environment predictability, by the reason of the Law defining the new scope and method of calculating compensation for environmental protection and improvement in a non-precise manner. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether the Law will meet the objectives of that the legislator had when adopting the Law.

Regardless of the aforementioned, it should be emphasized that the new Law classifies the fees according to the criteria of type of public good used, so there are following 15 (fifteen) groups of fess, for: (i) geological exploration; (i) use of resources and reserves of mineral resources; (iii) use of energy and energy-generating products; (iv) changing the purpose of agricultural land; (v) changing purposes and use of forests and forest lands; (vi) use of species of game protected by hunting; (vii) water; (viii) environmental protection; (ix) navigation and use of ports, harbors and facilities for navigation on the national waterway; (x) use of public roads; (xi) use of public railway infrastructure; (xii) use public space; (xiii) use of natural healing factor; (xiv) use of tourist space and (xv) electronic communications, on the basis of the type of used public goods.

Within each type of fee, the Law determines individual fees for which it regulates the fee payer, the base and the amount of fee, the manner of determining and paying the fee, possible relief or exemption from payment of the fee, as well as to which authority the income from fees belongs to.